If a trans woman is drunk, don’t rape her.

December 2, 2009

WARNING: possibly triggering

A timely reminder – not only for the forthcoming “festive season”, but as a general rule to live by. And it’s sad that it needs to be spelt out so forcefully.

A lot has been said about how to prevent rape. Trans women should learn self-defense. Trans women should lock themselves in their houses after dark. Trans women shouldn’t have long hair and trans women shouldn’t wear short skirts. Trans women shouldn’t leave drinks unattended. Fuck, they shouldn’t dare to get drunk at all.

Instead of that bullshit, how about:

If a trans woman is drunk, don’t rape her. If a trans woman is walking alone at night, don’t rape her. If a trans woman is drugged and unconscious, don’t rape her. If a trans woman is wearing a short skirt, don’t rape her. If a trans woman is jogging in a park at 5am, don’t rape her. If a trans woman looks like your ex-girlfriend you’re still hung up on, don’t rape her. If a trans woman is asleep in her bed, don’t rape her. If a trans woman is asleep in your bed, don’t rape her. If a trans woman is doing her laundry, don’t rape her. If a trans woman is in a coma, don’t rape her. If a trans woman changes her mind in the middle of or about a particular activity, don’t rape her. If a trans woman has repeatedly refused a certain activity, don’t rape her. If a trans woman is not yet a woman, but a child, don’t rape her. If your trans girlfriend or wife is not in the mood, don’t rape her. If your trans daughter or step-daughter is watching TV, don’t rape her.

If you break into a house and find a trans woman there, don’t rape her. If your cis friend thinks it’s okay to rape a trans woman, tell him it’s not, and that he’s not your friend. If your cis “friend” tells you he raped a trans woman, report him to the police. If your cis frat-brother or another cis guy at the party tells you there’s an unconscious trans woman upstairs and it’s your turn, don’t rape her, call the police and report him as a rapist.

Tell your sons, god-sons, nephews, grandsons, and sons of friends that it’s not okay to rape trans women.

Don’t just tell your trans women friends how to be safe and avoid rape. Don’t imply that she could have avoided it if she’d only done/not done x, y, or z. Don’t imply that it’s in any way her fault. Don’t let silence imply agreement when a cis man tells you he “got some” with the drunk trans woman. Don’t perpetuate a culture that tells you that you have no control over or responsibility for your actions. You can too help yourself. Rape is not about sex, it’s about control and power, and what kind of power comes from taking advantage of others? No power anyone should ever desire.

Adapted from an old (2006) post found at Mann’s blog

15 Responses to “If a trans woman is drunk, don’t rape her.”

  1. ann onn Says:

    go fuck yourself, moron tranny bitch, oh and kill yourself

  2. Helen G Says:

    Is that your best shot? Even by your limited standards it’s not very imaginative, is it?

  3. queenemily Says:

    louder and funnier

  4. Lucy Says:

    Yay! First comment moved us from rape to (self-)murder. Maybe there also needs to be a reminder to not kill trans women.


  5. Wow…. o…kay… that first commentor seems to have pretty bad issues.

    Anyone know if the 83% repressed self-haters stat carries from homophobes to transphobes?

    If so it’s ok ann onn, you can be the thing you dread inside. It’s not so bad really. You can find people to support you. No matter whether your gender-expression and/or identity is at the extreme or somewhere in the middle you can embrace it. And be a better person for it. More moral and ethical for starters.

    Anyways back to the horrific topic of rape, one friend of mine was raped by her biological father shortly after she came out to him to ‘teach (her) a lesson’, I’ve heard of others similarly assaulted, so perhaps mentioning it’s not just step daughters and this wrong notion of attempting to enforce conformity with rape might be worth adding to the list.

  6. Helen G Says:

    Good point. Have amended the line to “If your trans daughter or step-daughter is watching TV, don’t rape her.”

    ETA: Oh, and apologies for the troll, but I felt that that kind of hate speech – another form of violence inflicted on trans women – was worth exposing. We need to get this hatred into the light where everyone can see it for what it is.

    I have to add that it merely reinforces my view that some cis women have a worryingly broad definition of what constitutes ‘feminism’ if they seriously believe the ideology can include that degree of bigotry and still remain credible.

    And the irony isn’t lost that they think it’s acceptable to police what they perceive as the borders of “their” feminism with such enthusiasm – and yet refuse to apply the same critical lens to their own ideological beliefs. The naivete is quite breathtaking.

    Sad, really.

  7. Zoë Suzanna Says:

    The thing is women in general have all the about listed problems – we could amend that post to just say “women.” Don’t rape any women(trans or not) …. let’s extend it further…

    Do not rape anyone!

    Learning self-defense is useful for anyone – men and women. There are a lot of benefits to it besides just learning how to defend oneself.

  8. Helen G Says:

    Zoë Suzanna: The original (linked in my post) does exactly that – refers only to women. The problem – as I see it – is that, living in a cissupremacist society, the word women defaults to meaning cis women (or non-trans women, if you prefer).

    Trans women have been marginalised, Othered and invisibilised by mainstream cis society so thoroughly and for so long that assuming the word women to mean all self-identified women means taking an awful lot on trust. And, I’m sorry to say, my experience of many (although not all) cis women – like the delightful troll in the first comment above – simply do not accept trans women’s identities as authentic. The day that trans women’s identities are accepted is the day I stop referring to transsexual women and cis women, and start using the word women without those descriptors.


  9. Zoe Suzanna, as well as all Helen G points out let me also ask that if we need to bring ciswomen into this that we demand Ciswomen stop raping men. Its less common than the other way around yet it still happens and is almost never discussed but I personally know several victims.

    Which include a cisman who ss a child was abused repeatedly and raped by his ciswoman mother! And another who as an adult was encouraged to get drunk and then raped by his cousin and then following that event his girlfriend when he in a state of distress told her was condmend by her as if he had voluntarily cheated! And another friend who when he was recovering from a broken collerbone had a woman grab him by the injured area and hold him down via this and attempted to violently rape him and he was very lucky that her attack was disrupted.

    All cis both attackers and victims. None of course reported or easilly spoken about. The only case ever reported that i know of in any town i’ve lived in was laughed at by the police and the 14 year old victim killed himself when told he should have layed back and enjoyed the 30 year old womans assault.

    I also know cis women who were raped by cis women. One a teen raped by a nun at a catholic boarding school.

    The don’t rape anyone message is important, but it seems to be a rule followed to varying degrees and considered to have varying levels of badness depending on the perceived identity grouping of the victim. Clearly some see it as more acceptable to rape a transwoman. So raising the realities of those groups more targetted and/or more taboo and speaking out against that is appropriate.

    And even though cis wimens rape of cis men is less common the fact plenty of people including police assume it impossible, the sexist assumptions about all men having superior physical power and being always ready for sex at any time with any woman, the total lack of belief amongst large tracts of the population if the subject is raised or worse the support of it i’ve encounted from some women as some sort of fairness and even acceptable act makes it well worth raising to reduce this invisible crime with all of it’s sexist baggage.

    Now one thing i know exists but have no idea of relative numbers is the rape of transmen and that would be something also well worth raising in a wider discussion of rape and trans and rape and sexism.

    There is already much discussion in public discourse about the rape of cis women. And children that are victims of men. Australian tv has had for years government paid ads about violence against women including rape (never mentioning trans, never mentioning women who rape women either). Child abuse by men is now frequently discussed (rarely child abuse by women). Its not enough definately, who would disagree that more needs to be done? But.. What there is not is public discourse about all these other groups of victims.

    Zoe Suzanna, don’t you agree that that needs to change? That the forgotten victims, the ignored victims, the laughed at victims, the erased victims, the disbelieved as impossible victims, the supposedly-good-they-got-raped victims were defended and supported and the horrors they faced brought to light and decried and condemned and campained against?

  10. Zoë Suzanna Says:

    Re: Batty and Helen. Thank you for the clarification about your points.

    As an emerging woman in the process of fixing my birth defect, I am aware of the possibility I may have to face this unfortunate possibility in the future.

    From the standpoint of educating the public at large that trans women are women, we are humans and deserve the same respect as all human not to be raped. I will not disagree that trans women suffer from society’s apathy towards us and that we are some how less than human. This apathy leads people to think we deserve poor treatment. This is not correct.

    My point was, and forgive my crankiness the other day is that everyone, every woman regardless of gender identification should not be raped at all.


  11. Zoe Suzanna, your crankiness is by me at least forgiven. So I hope you’ll understand and forgive my crankiness.

    Cause three cisgender males who have been friends of mine for over a decade, who accepted my coming out instantly without reservation and have defended me to others have been sexually assaulted by women.

    So forgive me if i get angry that your point was sexist. Maintained a sexist myth that all rape victims are women and perpetrators men.

    There are male victims of women and women victims of women. And that is a disgraceful stain on the honour of the mythical woman-as-nurturer stereotype and the man-as-always-stronger stereotype.

    We decry the assaults on women but we so often continue the myths that women are not capable of carrying out or wanting to rape, to torture, to molest, to murder. That these are male traits. And to maintain these myths victims of women must suffer in silence and the crimes ignored and when some do get reported seen as absolute aberations while males raping is seen as common as it fits into all our notions of the powerful conquering beastly strong and sex obsessed man. Its all part of a sexist stereotype that harms us all.

    Especially when the sexist ‘male genitals = likely rape’ crap is used to deny sex and gender diverse people access to basic public-life-essential public ammenities like toilets.

    What were the horrific Australian stats i heard again… 1 in 3 ciswomen are sexually assaulted some time in their lives.. but also 1 in 7 men are too. Just going from people I know i think both numbers are underestimates. Now does the number of males who have been raped shock you? Yes its substantially less than the women and both numbers are disgustingly unimaginably high.. but did you have any idea that the number of males abused could be that close to the number of females?

    Now what was the stat for trans again? i often see numbers like 1 in 2 out TGs. So if we ignore cismen as victims as its smaller proportionally than ciswomen, we should ignore ciswomen as its smaller than transwomen.. or accept thats unjustifiable thinking and bring all the ignored victims to light and attack the bigotry that erases or even justifies these crimes.

    Ciswomen also rape, cismen are also raped, transwomen are also raped. We cannot allow people to suffer in societies oubliette of taboo to protect sexist assumptions of womanhood and manhood.

  12. Zoë Suzanna Says:

    Batty: Perhaps in your fit of anger you failed to really read my two posts here. Neither of them are sexist for I make no reference to men raping women nor do I assume that stereotype.

    In my first response here, I ultimately expanded my definition that NO ONE should be raped. I was never making any assumption about the gender of the perpetrators nor the victims – you assumed I was talking about men raping women.

    In my second posting, I once again did not refer to men raping women. You assumed I was talking about that stereotype and went on a long rant about how any gender can and has raped other genders.

    As a male, I was raped by a “cis”woman when I was young. I dread that happening again now that I am emerging as female. Rape is a horrible thing to experience regardless of gender.

    No human should experience rape regardless of their gender or gender identification. Period!

    Perhaps how you will benefit the world is by educating about how anyone can be a perpetrator and anyone can be a victim. That will be something wonderful.

    I will work to defend anyone regardless of gender from being raped – regardless of the gender of the perpetrator.


  13. Indeed as I said i was also cranky. I was responding to this final sentence of yours:

    “My point was, and forgive my crankiness the other day is that everyone, every woman regardless of gender identification should not be raped at all.”

    Which, i expect unintentionally, returned the focus to one of women-as-the-victims rather than your point of all humans shouldn’t be raped or mine that we need to focus on those victims who are forgotten and the sexism, often unconcious, that is inherant in so much of the subject and the way it’s considered. My apologies for being so touchy and emotionaly volatile about it.

  14. QoB Says:

    This is a good link that is an antidote to all those “Don’t get raped!” stories out there: http://kittenswithmittens.blogspot.com/2009/09/how-not-to-rape-someone.html

    e.g.: “3. If you pull over to help someone with car problems, remember not to assault them!

    7. USE THE BUDDY SYSTEM! If you are not able to stop yourself from assaulting people, ask a friend to stay with you while you are in public.

  15. Helen G Says:

    That certainly is concise – thank you for linking it.

    My only concern is with its gender neutrality – I specifically adapted the source of my original post to recentre and refocus the subject on to trans women because we are all-too-often invisibilised in discussions of gendered violence, despite being far more likely to be subjected to it. And when we even have organisations like Amnesty UK excluding trans women from their research, then it’s clear that we can’t rely on cis people to speak out for us and must do it for ourselves.

    And that, in my own small way, is what I was trying to do with this post.


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